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Educational opportunities for the poor, Sri Lanka

Briefing/policy papers

The Free School Textbook programme was initiated in 1980. It provides all students in grades 1 to 11 with required text books, free-of-charge. The Free School Uniform Programme was commenced in 1993. It provides all students in grades 1–13 in all government schools with free uniform material. The Navodya school development programme was initiated in 1997, and aims to provide at least one school in each administrative division in the country with funding for buildings, class rooms, laboratories, libraries, computer facilities, and so on.

Currently around 4 million students, in over 10,000 schools throughout the country, benefit from the Free School Textbook and Free School Uniform Programmes. Both are funded entirely out of national budget resources. The Navodya programme had, by 2004, identified close to 400 schools for development. In this case funding is provided by a combination of national budget resources, external credit from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, and the private sector.

Ganga M. Tilakaratna